Top Health Risks Excess Abdominal Fat Poses for Aging Adults

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Having too much body fat is a risk factor for a variety of ailments, but abdominal fat, also known as visceral fat, poses the highest risk because of its location close to many vital organs. Here’s a list of common health risks that can result from having too much fat in the abdominal region. You can help your senior loved one prevent these risks by encouraging a healthy diet and exercise. 

Heart Attack 

Visceral fat creates excess levels of cytokines, proteins that are normally part of the immune system. Cytokines can cause low-level inflammation and insulin resistance, which may contribute to heart attacks. 

Additionally, fatty acids released by visceral fat can cause LDL cholesterol to increase while decreasing HDL, the healthy form of cholesterol. Eating a diet low in saturated fat and exercising can reduce cholesterol levels and strengthen the heart. 


The fat in the abdomen is sometimes thought of as an extra organ because it produces hormones that can affect health. These hormones can cause insulin resistance. Over time, the pancreas can burn out from releasing insulin that isn’t being properly used due to insulin resistance. When this occurs, diabetes results. To prevent insulin resistance, encourage your loved one to eat a balanced diet low in refined carbohydrates, which can cause blood sugar levels to increase. 

If you’re a family caregiver who finds it challenging to plan and prepare healthy meals, consider hiring a professional caregiver. Some seniors need occasional assistance at home, and oftentimes the family members who take care of them need time away to run errands, take a nap, go to work, or take a vacation. Huntsville respite care experts from Home Care Assistance are available on an as-needed basis, giving your family peace of mind that your loved one will remain safe and comfortable while you relax or focus on other important responsibilities. 


The extra hormones and cytokines released by excess abdominal fat can also cause cancer. A study by World Cancer Research Fund International found those with higher levels of abdominal fat were more likely to be diagnosed with pancreatic, colorectal, uterine, or postmenopausal breast cancer. To reduce your loved one’s risk of cancer, make sure he or she is getting any screening tests recommended by the doctor, and encourage him or her to reach a healthy target weight. 

Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional elderly home care. Huntsville, AL, Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea 

Researchers in Japan found a link between obstructive sleep apnea and large waist size. Obstructive sleep apnea causes the muscles in the throat to relax and close while sleeping, resulting in low oxygen levels, headaches, and interrupted sleep, and it can cause nighttime acute coronary syndrome. If your loved one has sleep apnea, a CPAP machine can be used at night to prevent breathing problems. 

Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of home care. You can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide an individualized care plan to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits, such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. To hire a dedicated caregiver, call Home Care Assistance at (256) 716-9940 today.


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